India: UBL could soon be majority owned by Heineken

Dutch brewer Heineken, which already owns 42.4 per cent in United Breweries (UBL) could soon be able to buy additional shares and become majority owner of the Indian beer market leader.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), a government agency in India responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime, is all set to sell a stake of about 15.2 per cent in UBL, currently owned by beleaguered tycoon Vijay Mallya. The unpledged shares were transferred to ED by the Stock Holding Corporation of India under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after Mallya failed to repay around Rs 9,000 crore ($1.4 billion) he owes to Indian banks after the collapse of his Kingfisher Airlines in 2013. The agency expects to raise about 4.000 crore ($626.8 m) or nearly half of the money owed by Mallya.

Heineken has now the chance to hike its stake further if it offers the best price. If the brewer is not successful there is still a second chance, when Mallya’s remaining mostly pledged share, which account for another 14.26% of the company, will be sold.

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